Arbitration TIme: Part One

Dan SmithCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2008

Who wants a raise? Avery did, and so do Jay Bouwmeester, Antoine Vermette, and Dennis Wideman. 

Arbitration time can be a rough time for teams and players. The teams go into hearings and basically give reasons as to why that player isn't worth his weight in anything.

It is always an odd approach. A GM has to look a player in the eye and say, "You're not worth what you ask, but we want you here anyway." You don't have to look that far back to see examples of teams taking that approach too far. 

The Rangers took Sean Avery to arbitration and basically bashed him for being the kind of player that he is. There is really no need for that, considering Sather knew who he was when he acquired him from the Kings.

The end result was a considerable amount of bitterness that carried over to their most recent contract talks. And in the end, the Dallas Stars thought Avery was worth every penny. We will see if they still think that in April. 

Mike Cammalleri's hearings were apparently so bad that both parties walked out knowing that there was no way he was going to re-sign once he became unrestricted. It was bad enough that his name was constantly in trade rumors throughout the season until he was traded to Calgary before the '08 draft.

This year's headline names that have opted to go are Jay Bouwmeester and Antoine Vermette. I think Vermette is going to end up like the Avery and Cammalleri cases. The Senators are already leaning against the cap ceiling and can't afford to overpay for his services.

The Bouwmeester hearing will be smoother, considering how in-demand his services would be on the open market. The only real question that would come about would be what factors the arbitrators take into consideration.

One would hope that they take the team he is on into consideration. Even Nick Lidstrom would look human playing in South Florida.

Another player I see getting railroaded is Dennis Wideman. He had a very good season for the Bruins, but they are also pressed against the cap and don't want to overpay for a one-year wonder. It is not going to help the Bruins' case much when looking around the league at what other defenseman have been getting. 

Wideman had 36 points last year. If that is used as a gauge for what he will be getting, then there is going to be a big payday for him. Wade Redden only had two more points and is getting $6.5 million.

Rosival also had 38 points and he re-signed for $5 million. These numbers are also relevant to Bouwmeester, as he had 37 points. The difference being that Bouwmeester will do it again, and it is most likely that Wideman will not.